Moving to Spain – Helpful tips and guidelines

December 30, 2019

Emigrating to Spain or any other country is a big choice to make. It’s important to look at each of the factors that could change your moving experience. Family, friends and work are the most important factors to consider when deciding whether moving is for you. 

We recommend that, if possible, you ensure you have a stable job lined up in Spain before making the move. The country is full of beautiful cities from the sleek and modern Valencia to the ancient streets of Barcelona!

Of course having a larger family moving with you can help ease the process as they can often offer financial help and make the culture shock easier to adjust to. 

Regardless of your reasons for moving to Spain rest assured that the country is a magnificent place with much to offer those seeking to make it their home. So, let’s jump into what you need to know to make the move to Spain!

How to move to Spain

Making the decision to permanently reside in Spain takes careful planning beforehand. By ensuring that you have the necessary paperwork up to date and signed by officials you’ll save a lot of time and future hassle once you’ve moved. 

Here are a few things to check off the list before making the move:

  1. Check your country’s visa requirements for moving to Spain
  2. Make sure you can get work in the city you’re looking at moving to – different skills are valuable in different areas
  3. Arrive with enough cash to get you through 3 months – this should allow you enough time to get settled
  4. Learn a bit of the language to get you through daily interactions
  5. Check when flights to Spain are the cheapest and plan around that

Many expats currently live and work in Spain from all around the world, an important fact to keep that in mind if you start to get cold feet thinking about the move. You may even find people from your home country residing in the same town or city you move to. 

Even if you don’t meet any expats, rest assured that the Spanish people are warm and welcoming. They are very willing to help if need be and answer questions you may have.

What to expect when you move to Spain

It’s important to ask questions on how exactly to emigrate to Spain. The more knowledge you have prior to the move, the easier it will be. Relocating from your home country to Spain is a large commitment to make. However, there are many ways in which the country can make you feel welcome. 

Spain is a beautiful country filled with wondrous sights and many large cities as well as smaller towns. It’s important to decide which of these particular locations you’d like to live in before making the move to the country. Otherwise, you might settle into a bustling beach town before realizing that the quiet chill of the mountain region is the place for you.

The weather in Spain is usually fairly mild year round with the exception of winter, when it can snow and become quite cold in certain regions. However, it should be noted that in this season skiing in the mountains booms. Many people flock to enjoy the major ski resorts such as Sierra Nevada to spend their holiday in the mountains with fresh air, family and friends. 

The food in Spain is tasty and wholesome with traditional dishes such as tapas, paella or gazpacho. Many of the restaurants will have these dishes readily available. However if you’d prefer to try your hand at slowly learning to cook Spanish dishes yourself then the local markets and shops will have all the ingredients required to make hearty food in the comfort of your own home.

Music is also a large part of the Spanish culture. Ranging from the subtle vibes of traditional folk music to the fast, rhythmic pace of flamenco strumming there’s certainly something that suits everyone’s tastes. 

What it’s like to be living in Spain

Much of the architecture found within the cities of Spain are beautiful works that are unique to the country, each telling a tale of the country’s past. Spain’s history has seen it intermingle with many other cultures, and as a result it’s developed its own personal flair. 

Spanish traditions and culture can leave you slightly confused, however this goes hand in hand with moving to any new country. As time passes you’ll find that you become more acclimatized to the way things work and perhaps even adopt the mannerisms into your own.

The general unemployment rate in Spain is fairly high and many jobs require long hours at work. Ensure that you have a solid position lined up before making the move just so that you can rest easy when it comes to paying bills.

The cost of living in Spain is relatively low when compared to other European countries. This depends on where you decide to stay – the city of Granada in Andalusia is especially cheap. 

Andaluisa is a stunning region located in southern Spain with Mediterranean beaches, hills and rivers. It’s a relaxed community where daily business moves by at a peaceful pace and you’ll quickly know all your neighbours.

7 Biggest mistakes to avoid when moving to Spain

Sometimes it’s easy to make mistakes when adjusting to a new culture and country, down below we’ve listed some of the most common mistakes people tend to make when first moving to Spain.

1. Not handling the Bureaucracy 

It’s highly important when moving either yourself or your family over to Spain to ensure that you’re up to date with paperwork. Visas, bank accounts, residency regulations etc. Spain is very focused on these particular things when foreigners are moving in to the country to live and work.

2. Smoking in particular public spaces

Many Spanish bars, restaurants and public spaces actually prohibit smoking cigarettes inside by law. It’s best to smoke when you’re either in the comfort of your own home or in a large open space where your smoke won’t blow into other pedestrians that pass by.

3. Mishandling finances 

It’s easy to lose track of your expenditure when switching to a new currency for the first time. Ensure that you’ve got everything important paid before spending money on goods and services that aren’t as important.

4. Not expecting the culture shock

Culture shock is bound to happen at some point after your move to Spain. The country has its own blend of unique quirks and social norms that can differ vastly from those of your home country. What’s most important to remember is to respect the locals ways and customs and give yourself enough time to adjust. Check out our post on Spanish folklore to get an idea of local culture.

5. Driving in Spain

It’s advised that if you’re a newcomer to Spain you should stick outside of the faster lanes until you’re comfortable with the local drivers. There is a ban on listening to in-ear music while driving in Spain. Please keep that in mind before putting your earphones in, rather play music from the radio.

6. Courtesy

It’s important to take the time after moving to Spain to study the way the culture works and how to show respect when it is required. As well learning what is polite and socially accepted. It should also be kept in mind that Spanish people are very respectful towards their elders and members of their family.

7. The language barrier

No matter what country you move to language barriers will always come up at some point. Luckily, many locals in Spain speak and understand passable amounts of English. Take the time to attempt to learn Spanish as well, especially if you have moved to the country permanently. This shows respect for their culture and will be incredibly useful.

Final thoughts on moving to Spain

Moving to any country is a large commitment to make, that much is for certain. What’s important to remember is that no matter what obstacles could be faced throughout the course of the move, focusing on a solid plan is paramount to success.

People from around the world have made the move to Spain and assimilated into the country without trouble. Many of them have started new lives there with their families or alone.

When asking yourself how exactly to move to Spain without hassle remember, by setting guidelines for yourself and ensuring that you tick every box in preparation for the move you’re sure to save yourself a lot of potential stress.

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